After a long day on the actual 50th anniversary, it was time to sleep in and recoup before spending the day in Epcot. We did wake up to secure a boarding group for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, since this was back before the attraction moved to a standby queue. Before getting to the park, I slept a little more and we took our time leaving Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village. While the hotel doesn’t have the majesty of Jambo House, Kidani Village has a ton of character and feels a little more homey than the resort next door. We’ll have a full review of Kidani Village soon.
We ended up at Epcot around lunchtime and tried out the new counter-service spot, Crêpes À Emporter by La Crêperie de Paris. Along with the rest of the Ratatouille area, this quick crepe spot is a really nice addition the park. Whether or not the place will be popular down the road largely depends on how big of a hit the attraction is a since the area is somewhat secluded.
Can we also, as a Disney fan community, agree on what to actually call this place? I mean the name is fine but I’m not going to spout off 8 words when trying to describe crepes. Does “that crepe place” suffice? I’m all for a more thought out unofficial name but we’ve got to keep it practical too. Anyway, get crepes at “this crepe place” because they’re good and one of the better values in the park.
We still had a short while before our turn came for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, so we went over to Epcot’s other Adventure. The American one. The show does sport a little age at this point but the system utilized is still revolutionary to this day. The amount of animatronics and mechanisms is astounding and showcases the spirit that went into making Epcot a reality way back in 1982.
It was our turn to get on Ratatouille at that point and the line took a bit to wade through. On that day, Remy’s had gone down a time or two so the virtual queue system was a little flooded. No matter, as we were on the ride about 45 minutes later and there wasn’t much else on the docket that day.
I’ve already reviewed the attraction so I won’t get too deep into the weeds here. Being a few months removed from first ride through, Remy’s is a good ride that certainly elevates Epcot’s attraction roster. Unfortunately, it could have been more. I don’t think the ride fully embodies the whimsy and spirit of the film, the overreliance on screens and fuzzy plot are an issue. That said, it’s fun and does fit in the area better than Frozen in Norway. It will be a good piece for the park moving forward.
After our maiden voyage on a rat(?!), we walked around World Showcase for a little while. We stopped in Italy to see this adorable donkey and then saw Reflections of China. It was a lovely way to spend an easy-going afternoon at Walt Disney World.
Eventually, it was time for our dinner reservation at Sebastian’s Bistro. This Caribbean Beach Resort restaurant is a true hidden gem and one of the best in Disney World right now. We’re hopeful that the quality and menu stay largely the same over the years as we’ll be returning. This place has the best value of any buffet or family style restaurant on property.
After the delicious dinner, we rode the Skyliner over to Hollywood Studios for a quick look at the Tower of Terror all lit up as one of the Disney World beacons. I’m not sure it fully works, as the tower is kind of menacing but the projections are the opposite of that. It’s still pretty nonetheless.
It was the fall and I’m an avid college football fan, so we didn’t stick around too late at Hollywood Studios as I wanted to get back to watch my team. We left about an hour before close and were surprised at how low the ride wait times were at that point. From the park, we caught a bus to Saratoga Springs to check in to our 5th hotel in 7 days. The itinerary was ambitious but it did save us a lot of money between renting DVC points and using our own.
Saratoga Springs had been upgraded quite a bit since our last stay there, with the rooms becoming far more modern. The grounds at the resort are always beautiful, even if it’s a little too spread out for its own good. While there are certainly better hotels at Disney World, Saratoga has its place as a secluded and relaxing hotel to stay at.
The next morning, we arrived at Animal Kingdom and almost immediately took in a showing of Flights of Wonder by the Tree of Life. It’s a great atmospheric show and you should absolutely see it! We followed that up with an early lunch (it was going to be a day full of eating) at Harambe Market. The menu here has changed quite a bit over the years, and I do miss certain items but the rice bowls were delicious. The restaurant might have the best counter-service chicken in WDW.
The crowds that we assumed would be there the whole week finally seemed to be coming in and wait times for most attractions were long. Thankfully, Animal Kingdom has that problem solved by offering two wonderful walking trails that are mostly devoid of crowds. Maharajah Jungle Trek’s bird sanctuary is beautiful with the vibrant bird houses and plantlife.
Gorilla Falls Trail doesn’t quite have the personality that Maharajah has but it does offer some close encounters with animals. Meerkats are a highlight, as is the gorilla habitat.
From there, we were all set to see Festival of the Lion King. In fact, we did go into the theater to see Festival of the Lion King after joining the walk up list for Nomad Lounge. They said it would be about 45 minutes, which is plenty of time to see the show and then get back over. The show began and I immediately got a text that our table was ready so then we were those annoying people that walked out of the theater minutes into the show. I’m sorry, Festival of the Lion King cast. I really do love you!
I might love this Chili Dog more though. Of the specialty 50th anniversary food we tried, the Chili Dog was my favorite with just a little heat in the flavorful chili on top of the sausage. It was delicious and pairing it with one of the lounge’s excellent drinks is a fantastic lunch. Or snack. We’ll call it a snack on this day!
Finally, it was time for the reason we came to Animal Kingdom. KiteTails! What more is there to be said about this chaotic, insane and delightful show? I don’t know how long it will stick around thanks to it being so weird. I try not to tell people what to do on this blog, instead just offering advice where I see fit. I’m breaking that rule to say that everyone should embrace KiteTails. In a few years, we’ll be looking back at photos of a massive Pumbaa kite back-flopping into open bleachers below Expedition Everest and longing for the good ‘ol days. No? Well, at least enjoy these photos!
When in Asia (at Animal Kingdom), you go on Everest. So we did!
Dumbfounded by KiteTails excellence, what else was there to do but eat more? Our evening plans were at Magic Kingdom so we stopped at Wilderness Lodge to eat at Geyser Point Bar & Grill along the way. We really enjoyed dinner there and found another spot that’s a quiet respite from the crowded theme parks. There’s never a bad time to visit Wilderness Lodge, but it’s especially good if food is involved.
The rest of the night was spent at Magic Kingdom, which is where we’ll pick up our next installment!
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Categories: Trip Reports